Monday, August 30, 2010

Fear Itself

Can you say sacroiliac joint injection using x-ray guided fluoroscope?

Neither can I.

But ask me after Friday and I'll tell you all about it.

After lots of rest, drugs, therapy, patience, we're moving it up a notch. From what I can tell, this procedure will either immediately help. Or not. Here's hoping.

Truth be told, I'm nervous. I don't like injections much and it sounds like there will be three: a local, the joint anesthesia, and then the corticosteroid something-or-other. I don't like hospitals much either.

If it means, though, that I will be able to walk for more than 5 minutes without narcotics, sit at all, or, gasp, drive, I'm all for it.

Right?

We Did It!

We successfully navigated the first day of kindergarten!

Sure, it was only an hour and Mama was on-site the whole time, so it wasn't much of a test, but the symbolism was huge.

I have been considering meaningful posts for this day--reflective letters to the kids summarizing the last five years and offering gentle guidance for the next 12 of school a la "Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten," or even humorous blow-by-blows along the lines of "The Night Before Christmas," but I have nothing that humorous or inspiring.

Instead, I'll settle for an accounting of what actually happened.

I woke up before 5 am and kept forcing myself back to sleep, knowing that if I stayed awake, I'd only cry in my pillow. And it must have worked because Mama, who also woke up early but is sadly not as good at sleeping as I am, heard me snoring pretty much til 6:45 when the kids finally woke up.

And they arose like the sun, brilliant and strong and full of promise. They were through their morning checklist, dressed and ready to go before 7:15, which gave them enough time for breakfast, some playtime, and photographs outside. And still there was time to pass, but instead of being increasingly nervous (as were, I'd say, most of the adults!), they took it all in stride, glad for the momentous occasion to have arrived at last.

We piled into two cars--one for Mama and the kids, one for me and Gommie, who was my "back"-up today--and wound our way through crazy first-day-of-school traffic (CT is notorious for having awful traffic during the school year, as teachers must travel long distances to where they teach; even in our little town, the roads are jammed with all the people who aren't on a bus route). (And yes, I went, drugged, braced, even pain patched, which bought me about 20 minutes on my feet. It's all good). But we made it early and in two pieces, finding parking easily. The principal cheerfully greeted everyone outside, where people were posing in front of the school sign and a stuffed version of the school mascot. And Sis and Bud were still just beaming.

The smiles dampened somewhat, just a tad, as we waited a bit in the auditorium to be let into their classrooms. Perhaps because reality set in. Perhaps because there was nothing to do but stand there. Perhaps because they had been delayed from their ultimate goal of getting to class just a bit. A small hand slipped into mine. Sis sniffed Shirt.

Not five minutes later, we were invited to walk down the hall to their kindergarten classes. Here we go. Purposefully, the kids marched down the hall double-time, with us in tow, smiles returning as we neared our destinations. First, Bud's class: he walked right in, found a seat, sat down, and barely looked back for our ritual beep. The teacher was standing near me and so, seeing all the parents still standing there, I asked if this was when it was time to go. Yep. And so I went. No looking back. As purposeful as the kids. I headed to Sis's class, where she had gone with Mama. I had to squeeze through parents to give her a beep goodbye; she barely turned around. But then, she had declared the night before that she could walk herself to class! This teacher too said it was time to go and so Mama and I left.

That's it. No loitering. No tears. No protracted goodbyes. No returns for a last look. Our kids are in kindergarten.

Mama went to the parents' meeting; Gommie took me home via the coffee shop for my chai reward. About an hour later, the kids returned, full of folders and forms, but not of stories. Typical. All I can make out is that one class did the hokey pokey, the other played an alphabet game. Both are very excited to go back tomorrow, because tomorrow will be longer, requiring their backpacks and snacks and a bus ride home.

Color me tickled and relieved and happy. With a bright yellow sunshine-y crayon. We did it!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Proud Mommies

Some good news from the homefront: Sis and Bud had their kung fu tests today to see if they were ready to advance. Sure enough, both children did well on their stretches, kicks, and forms and have been awarded yellow belts!!!!! Additionally, Bud received the trophy for "best test," or being the best student at his level tested today. He is thrilled. And we are so proud of both of them.

Which belies how hard it was this week because we worried about how strictly the tests would be scored, how well they'd have to do to advance. Our kids are the youngest and smallest and newest in the class. The teacher's philosophy is to encourage love of the sport at this age not strict adherence to rules and so we hoped he would be encouraging and reasonable. And clearly he was. But not before Mama stressed for hours this morning, first through class and then through the tests and then waiting for all the other kids to go before the awards were announced. She said it reminded her of those dreams where you have a test but haven't studied--except much worse! Because it wasn't even her test to study for. Is nothing about parenting easy?

Yes, yes. Smiling at their happiness today, being proud of their achievements was very, very easy.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Howdy

Just wanted to type a quick line. Things are status quo, the new one that is. Which means that I'm still in bed, with a very gentle schedule of standing up and walking about (2 minutes every 20 minutes), meds to make that bearable (a course of steroids, muscle relaxers, and narcotics! Trigger injections of lydocaine probably plus steroids next week. One more thing to put me up there with all those professional athletes--needles!), hopes of driving still weeks away, and not much else because it's too much strain really to hold a book or type on the computer except in very small bursts. The kids are still greatly enjoying Gommie and Pop, who have generously, lovingly, patiently, compassionately, offered to stay through next week, the first week of school (and Pop's 70th birthday!!). The kids have gotten past, for now, the fear of being separated and just seem excited to go. Which is a relief. Especially under the circumstances. And we are pretty much ready . . . at least with everything that is important. Anything else can wait these days.

I have a billion blog posts in my head, from the mundane to the extraordinary, tidbits, recipes, lessons I've learned, things I'm longing to do, valuable experiences with meditation, gratitude for family and friends, hopes, fears, and in betweens. And I've taken notes . . . but now's not the time.

Thanks to all who have commented on my blog and called and emailed and brought treats and visited and offered to cook. I am touched beyond words and know that all of your kindnesses are helping with (what otherwise seems like very slow) healing.

But especially to my parents, Mama, and the kids . . . .

Monday, August 23, 2010

When You Can't Do What You Do

I'm a stay-at-home mom. But today I'm staying at home when I should be leaving. Because my kids are going to a kindergarten gathering without me this morning. I've been waiting for the beginning of school with a mixture of sadness, concern, excitement, and even relief practically since they were born. And now the time has come and I am not really participating. Well, that's not true: I have all of the anxiety and stress without all the fun distractions and preparations. I haven't bought them clothes or school supplies or little gifts for the first day of school. I'm not going to the gathering today. I'll be lucky if I can go to the first day of school next week. I'm trying to make arrangements for other people (family, friends, a hired nanny?) to take them and pick them up, cook meals, prepare snacks, organize clothes, just in case I'm not ready by next week. And I feel like I'm missing out, letting them down, ruining it all, for them, for me. The disappointment runs very deep and I try not to disturb it, because it can't be helped, try to stay in the moment, embrace acceptance, not get caught up in the expectations and judgments, but it is so hard. Luckily, I know they are in good hands with Mama and Gommie and Pop. It's just not my hands. Which are now, here at home, with nothing to do as I lie here except type.

Happy Anniversary!

Today starts Year 14 of togetherness! And while there is more "worse" and "sickness" right now than we usually like, our life together on the whole has been full of "better." Illness and injury clarify such things and, while I am usually aware of how blessed I am by having Mama in my life, the last two weeks of her unflinching, generous, compassionate care and support have overwhelmed me with her love. I love you, Mama. But am hoping to never need to repay your tender sick-bed care in kind. Here's to more "better!" Soon.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

25 Degrees of Separation

Between the weather here in CT and that in Houston. No wonder my parents have been outside as much as they can, (even if the kids aren't as interested). Today, though, there has been a lot of rain, which is great for my garden and grass but not great for the grandparents. No worries, Gommie and Pop, this isn't Texas, in high heat or heavy rains. It'll stop soon.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

It's the Weekend

And things are looking up. There's going to be kung fu, swimming, grilling, baking, baseball, playing in the park, an Errol Flynn movie . . . and more R&R for me. But I'm feeling better, just trying to take it slow so I don't cycle back. Have a great one!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Update

Well, I had a setback on Wednesday, after progressing so well. Not sure what caused the relapse, but I hurt. My PT could only do "voodoo therapy," as I called it: electronic stimulation, ultrasound, some kind of special funky kinesiological? tape.

Today my pain/rehab doctor said it would be at least 2 more weeks before I was really up and about. I could've herniated a disk in my low spine but she won't do an MRI until I can lay flat for 45 minutes, which is a long way off (I'm knees-up-on-a-pillow now). The treatment, she says, is the same for now: better drugs, a brace, lots of rest.

(There's a joke in there somewhere: what do I have in common with a professional athlete? Special tape and steroids!)

Which in her book is getting up about 4 times a day. My parents are here another week (for which I am grateful beyond words), which means I'll have to ask friends and church for help during the second week (for now, we're hoping Mama can take the kids to school since I can't sit much less drive). She says to arrange that now so I don't worry (thanks to my friends who have already volunteered--I'm afraid I'll be taking you up on it). That would be the first week of school. I'm trying not to be very very upset by this turn of events. And so I've started reading Jon Kabat-Zinn's Full Catastrophe Living (finally, Mama would say), about dealing with the stress of pain through mindfulness and meditation.

(And it's not enough that it's my back, mind you: we said goodbye to Babysitter on Tuesday and school starts for the kids in a week. On top of that, I found a lump in my hip which they ultrasounded yesterday to rule out awful things. It was luckily only a lypoma, or hard fat deposit. Just what I needed.)

See, Mama got me this lap desk thing today to hold books or the computer. I couldn't even hold up a magazine before and typing on my Android which I held up in the air was hard. And it helps me type more easily, though it's still difficult. So, I won't be blogging a lot but at least I can a bit. It helps occupy my mind. (Though, I'm loving the new Cooking TV channel, even if it makes me long to bake and blog about recipes. Sis watched with me today, which was a nice and recently rare together moment. I'm so boring and frustrating and probably a bit worrisome to the kids. But we had another together moment: we watched the original Star Wars together for rest time yesterday and they loved Chewbacca, the destruction of the Death Star, and "C-P03." It was my all-time favorite childhood movie, up there with Gone with the Wind, taking over my life when I was just 6ish so it was fun to introduce them to it. I mean, I call my Droid, "R2-D2!" Even if no one like Princess Leia as much as I did! Gommie and Pop even got a nap while the kids and I watched. And found themselves buying SW toys for the second generation today!).

I like my doctor. She told me not to be discouraged, that I'd get back to "jumping rope with the kids," that nothing I did caused this so not to look for the trigger or blame myself unnecessarily. It's just what I needed to hear. Because it's hard enough dealing with the here and now without worrying about the past and future.

So, thanks for thoughts, prayers, comments, calls, and email: they are all so appreciated. Keep'em coming.

A Poem on Pain

Lonely. Tired. Scared.
Wondering when it will stop,
If. Trying to breathe.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

First Steps

I'm getting there. My parents are here and having fun with the kids, playing with them and feeding them and taking them through our schedule. Needless to say, Sis and Bud are ecstatic at the attention.

And I'm moving again, albeit slowly. I can stand up for a few minutes at a time, get up and down by myself. Still not traversing stairs, sitting, or bending. I have doctor's and PT appointments for the rest of the week to just check out everything. The kind and encouraging PT sees things improving each day, though she is surprised at how wonky--my word--my spine/SI/tailbone are. Causing lots of trouble, but nothing long term.

Until then, I finally feel better to be sick of being in bed, watching tv, not doing much (still can't blog much because I can't get in a good position).

And that's a good thing.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Cavalry

My parents are coming up tomorrow to stay for at least a week . . . . in part because they are distressed about my back (which is improving slowly) and want to help.

But also so that they can then drive to Ohio.

For my dad's sister's funeral.

My aunt F died on Friday, six weeks after entering hospice (around the time that her husband died), years after the onset of dementia. And while it has long been expected, it is sad.

But, despite all the circumstances (and maybe even because of them), we are very happy that my parents are coming.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Long Time, No Post

(Note: Mama Hungry is taking dictation for me.)

I haven't posted since Wednesday because on that night, I pulled my back so out of whack that yesterday was the first day I could walk a few steps. I have consulted doctors and my PT. I have good medication and am slowly feeling better. Though, I still can't sit up to type on the computer.

A special thanks to Mama Teacher for coming by with pizza and cookies, to Sis and Bud for taking it all in stride (the new toys from Mama's "magic trunk" help) and to Mama for everything.

Not sure when I'll be back on-line again, but would appreciate emails and comments saying "howdy."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sitting Down: Meditation Pledge, Day 3

I'm waking up at 6:30 to meditate. Without my alarm clock. Coincidence? Some kind of subconscious need? Yesterday, I sat in my desk chair, not wanting to stray to far from the bedroom because the creaky upstairs floors will wake the kids who look for any sound in the morning to announce morning. But, even though I counted my breaths, I spent the whole time thinking how tight my back was without a pillow. Still, I made about 8 minutes before I stopped, without clock-watching (or Droid-watching, in this case. See how useful that phone is?). Today, I realized I forgot my pillow to make the chair palatable and so I assumed the back neutral position my PT likes, in bed, and meditated there. Judgement time: I know I'm not supposed to meditate lying down in bed, but until I get a comfortable position between my lumbar and thoracic and now cervical spine constantly arguing with each other, all things are possible. And for today it worked. Tomorrow, we're hoping to free my glider--yep, those pregnancy chairs can have a second life!--and I can use that. Lots of support.

Speaking of support, I felt this amazing, glowing enveloping of support from Karen Maezen Miller, the Zen priest and author whom I've referenced here numerous times, who linked to my first meditation pledge post on her own blog. I first noticed it when I had a comment from someone I didn't know, which almost never happens. Then another and another. Four altogether. People who don't know me who came here from her and were supportive of and inspired by my efforts, which in turn inspired and humbled me. By then, I'd read her post and caught the link. It was quite a warm, fuzzy feeling all day. And I am grateful.

While I think it's too early to evaluate this practice, I am having a pretty good few days. Coincidence? I'm not sure it matters.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Car Games

We drove down to the city this weekend to spend it at the beach with Ma and Gong. On the way, we played some car games, namely "30-second interview questions" from a pack Mama bought on Woot (yes, the Magic Trunk has produced again!). As you have probably guessed from my semi-regular questionnaire, I love answering "favorites" questions and such (I have lots of those If books . . . somewhere). And Sis does too, so we played both coming and going, often with the same questions. Though we didn't all manage to answer all of the questions. Here are some of our answers:

  • If you could have a super power, what would it be? Sis, flying; Bud, leap tall buildings; Mama, stretchy arms; me, flying or invisible.
  • If you could be anyone for a day, who would it be? Sis would be Dave on "Imagination Movers."
  • Basketball, kickball, or soccer? We all said soccer.
  • If you could have any talent, what would it be? Bud would know kung fu. I would be able to play the piano, sing beautifully, and/or speak Italian and Chinese.
  • What's your favorite day of the week? Mama said Friday night.
  • Sock color? Everyone answered in unison. Correctly. Blue, white, black, and white.
  • If you could eat dinner with any 3 people, whom would you choose? Sis chose Arthur from the cartoon/book series, Dave (yep, Dave again), and Gommie.
  • If you could go to any country, where would you go? Mama wants to see those penguins in Antarctica. Sis chose Texas (yep, it's a whole 'nother country. Don't mess with it.). Bud chose China. Picking from places I've never been ('cos I'd go back to England or Italy in a heartbeat), I chose the Netherlands and China, maybe Ireland or Scotland.
  • What are your 3 favorite things about you? Sis said "my senses." I said creativity, baking skills, and (well, sometimes) unflappability. Mama said figuring things out.
But the one that got me right here was Sis's answer to the question about 3 wishes. She wishes for
  1. Amy the Bunny to be real.
  2. Shirt not to get any more holes.
  3. Not to be sick anymore.
(For more questions for kids, see here and here.)

Meditation Pledge

The "How to Meditate" issue of Shambhala Sun arrived just in time: my practice has lagged; my stress is on the rise with the upcoming departure of Babysitter and the beginning of school; and my back/neck/shoulders are bothering me. Related? Most definitely. And so, with the desire to meditate firmly in place but the will lacking somewhat, I was (again) motivated to practice by reading Norman Fischer's article on "Getting Started:" ". . . the main difficulty we have with self discipline: we are ambivalent. We both do and don’t want to do what we think we want to do in our own best interests."

Sound familiar? That sums up my often lackadaisical approach to much self-improvement, from dieting to exercise, NVC to meditation. I'm a good starter but then lose focus even though I think I want it, know I should. And then I wonder if I'm doing it right, though I've been assured that really there is no "right." Fischer, too, says:

Better to assume the Soto Zen attitude that meditation is what you do when you meditate. There is no doing it wrong or right. That is not to say that there is no effort, no calm, no focus. Of course there is. The point is to avoid falling into the trap of defining meditation too narrowly, and then judging yourself based on that definition, and so sabotaging yourself. You evaluate your practice on a much wider and more generous calculus. Not: Is my mind concentrated while I am sitting? But: How is my attention during the day? Not: Am I peaceful and still as I sit? But: Is my habit of flying off the handle reducing somewhat? In other words, the test of meditation isn’t meditation. It’s your life.
So, as with many things, I pick up and start again. And since pledges work well for me, as we saw this spring with the bread pledge and my continuation of baking our bread, I'm pledging here to meditate every morning for the next 40 days, getting up before the kids to do it or at the least, doing it when they are in school. First for 5-10 minutes each day, increasing each week by 5-10 until I can do 30. I'm following Karen Maezen Miller's writings on how to meditate, as I was first introduced to zazen through her: start small (just a few minutes), count my breaths, realize that the brain thinks and so it is impossible to turn off thoughts, better just to acknowledge them and let them go.

Fischer says to ask, “How was that? Was it pleasant or unpleasant? What impact did it have on my morning, on the rest of my day, on my week?”

So far so good, today. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Adventures in Cooking Our CSA Share: Zucchini and Summer Squash

I've been working on this post for a couple of weeks now, as you'll see from the array of collected recipes. And zucchini is still in season! When we came home from our weekend at Ma and Gong's, we had three squash to pick from our garden: a nice plump yellow crookneck, a long (10"?) striped Italian zucchini, and a (gulp!) almost 24" striped Italian zucchini. That last one was hiding, I think, because it would've been there last week; we just didn't see it. I think it will be a perfect candidate for baking if only because it's so impressively sized. And I can seed it and use other zucchini for the stuffing. Ma cooked some of our zucchini this weekend (we took her our entire CSA box): cut in chunks (which are more fun than rounds), stir fried, and topped with a bit of sesame oil. Yummy!

Also, KAF just added their own Chocolate Zucchini Cake to their blog (it looks richer than the one I have below). I have all the ingredients . . . if only I can sneak the zucchini past Sis!

Some notes:
  • Zucchini and summer squash can be eaten raw or broiled, steamed, fried, grilled, sauteed, stir-fried, or baked.
  • Store zucchini and summer squash for up to 3-4 days.
  • Grated or pureed zucchini can be frozen and saved for adding to soups, sauces, and baked goods later.
  • I like the smaller zucchini and summer squash.

*These are tried and true; the rest are on my list to try. I have only included here recipes in which zucchini is a primary ingredient; otherwise, I use it in soups, stews, ratatouille, etc.

*Curried Zucchini Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
coarse salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 1/2 pounds zucchini (about 3 medium), sliced 1 inch thick
1 baking potato, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted, for garnish (optional)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, adding onion and 1 tablespoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and curry powder ; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add zucchini, potato, and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, 10-15 minutes.

Puree in batches until smooth; serve immediately or let cool. Garnish with toasted almonds.

Great Food Fast, From the Kitchen of Martha Stewart Living

-=-=-=-=-=-

*Baked Squash

2-3 yellow squash
olive oil or butter
salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Cut squash in half or in even thinner slices, depending on thickness of squash (but not
too thin). Spread evenly in pan. Drizzle with oil or dot with pats of butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 30+ minutes until tender.

Gommie Hungry

-=-=-=-=-=-=
*Gommie's Zucchini Bread

4 eggs beaten
1/2 cup oil
1 clove garlic, minced
dash pepper
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Lawry's seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons parsley
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup bisquick
3 cups zucchini, sliced.

Mix in 9 x 13" pan. Bake 30 minutes at 350F, until brown.

Gommie Hungry

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

*Zucchini Fries

1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

3 medium zucchini

water or milk

1 cup fat-free or low-fat spaghetti sauce

cooking spray


Preheat oven to 450°F. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.

Place bread crumbs, cheese, and garlic powder in Ziploc bag and shake well to combine all ingredients. Set aside.

Cut each zucchini lengthwise into 8 pieces; cut each piece again in half lengthwise. Fil a pie plate with water; then dip each zucchini stick first in water, then into bag of crumb mixture. Shake until zucchini are coated on all sides. Place on cookie sheet. Repeat with rest of sticks.

Bake on cookie sheet for 10-15 minutes or until brown and tender. Serve with warm spaghetti sauce.

Note: Use 1 medium eggplant, sliced into thin rounds, instead of zucchini.

Eating Expectantly

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

TO TRY:


Zucchini Oven Chips
  • 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free milk
  • 2 1/2 cups (1/4-inch-thick) slices zucchini (about 2 small)
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425°.

Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Place milk in a shallow bowl. Dip zucchini slices in milk, and dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Place coated slices on an ovenproof wire rack coated with cooking spray; place rack on a baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes or until browned and crisp. Serve immediately.

Cooking Light

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Layered Zucchini

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water
  • 6 cups sliced zucchini (about 3 medium)
  • 1 pound ground round
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups low-fat spaghetti sauce (such as Muir Glen Organic)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cups fat-free cottage cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs, divided
  • 1 3/4 cups (3 1/2 ounces) preshredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add zucchini; cook 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and cool.

Place the beef and garlic in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until browned, stirring to crumble. Stir in the spaghetti sauce, salt, basil, and oregano; cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Combine the cottage cheese, parsley, and eggs in a medium bowl.

Arrange zucchini slices in a shallow 3-quart casserole coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle the zucchini with half of the breadcrumbs. Spread half of cottage cheese mixture over breadcrumbs; cover with half of the meat mixture and 1 cup mozzarella. Repeat the layers with the remaining breadcrumbs, cottage cheese mixture, and meat mixture; reserve the remaining mozzarella. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes.

Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella, and bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese melts.

Cooking Light

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

"Zapple" Bars


Filling

5 1/2 cups peeled and diced zucchini

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


Crust

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 teaspoon pure vanilla


In a nonreactive saucepan, combine the zucchini and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Simmer, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, until slightly thickened.


Preheat oven to 350F. Butter 9 x 13" baking pan.


To make crust, in a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and vanilla. Process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press half of the crust mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes.


Spread the zucchini mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble the remaining crust mixture evenly on top of the zucchini. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown.


Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into bars.

The Classic Zucchini Cookbook


Note: A similiar recipe called Sweet Zucchini Crumble appears in the Farmer John's Cookbook, using 4 1/2 cups flour, 3 cups sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 cups butter, 6-8 cups zucchini (4 large), 2/3 cup lemon juice (about 3), 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg. Directions are almost exactly the same.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Double Chocolate Zucchini Cake

3/4 cup oil

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups grated zucchini

1/2 cup sour milk or buttermilk

3 tablespoons cocoa or carob powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon and cloves

2 1/2 cups flour

small bag of chocolate chips.


Preheat oven to 350F; grease a 9 x 13 pan. Mix all ingredients and bake 30-35 minutes.

From Asparagus to Zucchini

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Zucchini Spice Bread

Nonstick cooking spray

1 large zucchini

1 cup packed light-brown sugar

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2/3 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan with cooking spray, and set aside. Grate zucchini on the large holes of a box grater (to yield 1 3/4 cups); set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together sugars, oil, vanilla, and eggs.

Into a small bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and salt. Add flour mixture to egg mixture, and stir to combine well. Stir in grated zucchini.

Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes; invert onto a wire rack, then reinvert, top side up. Cool completely before slicing.

Martha Stewart Everyday Living

-=-=-=-=-=-=-


Zucchini Bread

3/4 cup fat-free milk

1 cup shredded zucchini (about 4 oz)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups bread flour

1 cup whole wheat

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

grated zest of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon gluten

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast


Place ingredients in the pan according to the manufacturer's instructions. Set crust on medium and program for Basic cycle; press Start (do not use delay timer).
When baking cycle ends, immediately remove the bread from pan and place on the rack to cool before slicing.
Beth Hensperger, The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook
-=-=-=-=-=-=-


KAF Zucchini Lemon Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt
grated peel of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup (or more) chopped walnuts
1/2 cup (or more) raisins
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup (packed) shredded zucchini

Preheat oven to 400F.

Combine flour, sugar, powder, salt, and lemon peel in large bowl. Stir in walnuts and raisins. In a smaller bowl, combine eggs, milk, and oil.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and add wet ingredients. Stir just until barely combined and gently fold in zucchini.

Spoon the batter into a greased, 12-cup muffin tin. Bake 20-25 mintues or until the muffins spring back when you press them with your fingertips.

KAF 200th Anniversary Cookbook


Stuffed Zucchini--Bloodroot

Choose 5 medium sized zucchini. Cut in half crosswise and use an apple corer to make hollow tubes by first working from one side and then the other. Chop 1 medium onion. Saute it in 2 tablespoons olive oil until soft. Remove pan from heat and add to it 1/2 cup raw white rice, 2 tablespoons chopped straight leaf parsely, 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, 1/4 cup dried currants, and 2 tablespoons squash corings, chopped fine. Also add salt, pepper, and 1/4 cup pignoli nuts. Make a "broth" by mixing 1 teaspoon tamari in 1 cup water and moisten the uncooked rice mixture with a few tablespoons of this. Taste for salt and pepper. Use your fingers to stuff zucchini tubes. Place in a pan and add the "broth" to 1/2" deep in the pan. Cover and refrigerate until dinner time.

Half an hour before serving time, bake zucchini covered in a preheatedc 400F oven.


Zucchini Latkes

Grate 2 medium zucchinis in a food processor or by hand. Grate 1 small onion. Turn into a colander and let drain 5 minutes.

Beat 2 eggs in a bowl large enough to hold zucchini mixture. Squeeze zucchini handful by handful and discard exuded moisture. Add squeezed zucchini to eggs. Add 2 1/2 tablespoons cornemeal, 2 1/2 tablespoons flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, fresh ground pepper, and a pinch each of baking powder and sugar. Stir all together and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Heat 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil in frying pan. Use a fork to pat out small pancakes (4-5") and fry until brown on one side. Turn with spatula, pressind down on trhe latke to flatten it.


Serve with sour cream on the side.

Bloodroot